Tag Archives: Drugs

Links: Classrooms, Sex Economics, Hackers, Bill Gates, Drugs, and Keep It Short

* Good news if true (and long overdue, whether this report turns out to be a true trend or a false growth): “Shaking Up the Classroom: Under an increasingly popular system called competency-based learning, students are promoted after they master material—not just because they have spent a year in a class.”

* “In-Depth Report Details Economics of the Sex Trade;” the funniest thing is the way pimps fill a niche created by prohibition. Take away the laws and the pimps likely go too.

* Have liberal arts degree, will code.

* The Bill Gates Rolling Stone interview; pay special attention to the sections about anti-poverty programs.

* Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process When Everything Is a Crime. In other words, virtually anyone can be arrested for something in the contemporary United States.

* Keep it short.

* “Made in the U.S.A. (Again): The new industrial revolution won’t be in India or China. It will be right here in America.” But it likely won’t include a lot of jobs.

* Someone found Grant Writing Confidential by searching for “best grant writing certification.” There is no such thing because they’re all bad and pointless.

* “The Value Of An Engineering Degree,” which complements “Have liberal arts degree, will code.”

* Crowd funding is market research.

* “It’s Time to End ‘Rape Culture’ Hysteria.”

* “One big reason we lack Internet competition: Starting an ISP is really hard.” If I had Zuckerbergian money I’d fund ISPs.

* “Judge says prosecutors should follow the law. Prosecutors revolt.”

* Deeply chilling sentences.

* “Is HUD threatened by a Christian group’s plans to expand?” Unlikely; although Todd Starnes, the reporter, has probably never heard of this, it’s more probable that the group doesn’t want to join the local Continuum of Care.

* “Why RFPs Waste Time – Choose a Better Approach to Finding a Great Consultant;” almost all the other nonprofit-world blogs we’ve found are bogus, but this one isn’t. See also our post Why Seliger + Associates Never Responds to RFPs/RFQs for Grant Writing Services.

* Phages versus drug-resistant bacteria—really?

* It’s been at least 800,000 years since carbon-dioxide levels were this high.

* Addict. Informant. Mother. If rural towns in Eastern Pennsylvania have a heroin epidemic what hope do the rest of us have? So much for 40 years of the War on Drugs. Clearly, drugs have won this war.

David L. Kirp argues that Head Start should work like Section 8. He should consider how successful school bussing was.

Phoenix Programs

I noted earlier in Zombie Funding that programs can dwindle from a huge amount of available money to virtually nothing, but they can also rise from the ashes like a Phoenix. Isaac also commented on this phenomenon in Zombie Funding – Six Tana Leaves for Life, Nine for Motion.

Now I’ve seen a more recent example of the monster: last year the School-Based Student Drug-Testing Programs had $1,680,000 available for 12 awards; this year it’s got $12,750,000 for 85 awards, as the link demonstrates. I’m not sure why the program got an extra $11 million, but it leads to another important but perhaps not obvious point: rejection for an application one year doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t apply the next, as changes in the program might make you more likely to be funded. The vast amount of extra money allocated to the School-Based Student Drug-Testing Programs could be a reaction to a large number of highly qualified applicants.

Or it could be random, but the additional money available still makes the School-Based Student Drug-Testing Programs more attractive to anyone who applied or thought about applying previously.

More on Drugs

Drug use, like healthcare and a number of other modern political background noises, offer endless fodder for debate and study, especially when mixed with teenagers. Now the New York Times has an article about teenagers, risky behaviors, and why some programs aimed at teens are likely to fail:

For example, a study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that teenagers were more likely than adults to overestimate risks for every outcome studied, from low-probability events like contracting H.I.V. to higher-probability ones like acquiring more common sexually transmitted diseases or becoming pregnant from a single act of unprotected sex.

“We found that teenagers quite rationally weigh benefits and risks,” Dr. Reyna said in a recent interview. “But when they do that, the equation delivers the message to go ahead and do that, because to the teen the benefits outweigh the risks.”

For example, she said: “The risk of pregnancy from a single act of unprotected sex is quite small, perhaps one chance in 12, and the risk of contracting H.I.V., about one in 500, is very much smaller than that. We’re not thinking logically; they are.”

For that reason, [two professors wrote in an article that] traditional programs […] appeal[ling] to teenagers’ rationality “are inherently flawed, not because teens fail to weigh risks against benefits,” but because “teens tend to weight benefits more heavily than risks when making decisions.”

In light of research like this, programs designed to prevent teens behaving badly are unlikely to be cut or shrunk any time soon because teenage risk-taking is a perennial and perhaps biological imperative. This is great news for nonprofits that seek grants in the apparently endless “War on Drugs” to save teens from themselves.

(Hat tip to Marginal Revolution.)

12-14-07 Links

* You may want to read this post from The Wealth Report in the Wall Street Journal, which details supposed changes in the way the rich give or the way they want to give. It’s light on detail but worth pondering:

Today, at the peak of the charity season and the height of the wealth boom, the charity world needs to wake up and realize that the rich have changed. The new wealthy aren’t content to write checks and hope for they best. They are self-made entrepreneurs who want to give away their money just as they earned it — by measuring everything, by being in control, by cutting out waste, and by finding a more-efficient way to deliver a service. They want transparency and concrete results.

(Robert Frank, who writes The Wealth Report, is also the author of Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich.)

* Rolling Stone has an interesting article with lots of good history as well as numerous questionable causal assertions concerning politics. It, combined with books like The Corner, demonstrates why drug treatment programs are never going away:

Cocaine is now as cheap as it was when Escobar died and more heavily used. Methamphetamine, barely a presence in 1993, is now used by 1.5 million Americans and may be more addictive than crack. We have nearly 500,000 people behind bars for drug crimes – a twelvefold increase since 1980 – with no discernible effect on the drug traffic.

* Got links we should post? Send them in.